Everyone in your industry is chasing the same prospects so it just makes sense to leverage the internet to your advantage when it comes to search engine optimization. Once you understand the SEO basics the next step is finding the right tools and deploy best practices to make your business stand out. To help you transition from basics — here are SEO tips and resources to improve your online visibility.
Question: Should I Focus on Content or Keywords First?
The relationship between content and SEO is symbiotic and is equally important. Without a solid foundation of relevant and useful content, you run the risk of ranking higher in search results but then losing the interest of your prospect.
On the flip side, you might have value-added content, but not have optimized it for SEO so the search engines aren’t ranking you high enough to be seen, or worse, not ranking you at all.
For our purposes, let’s start with content so that regardless if you are starting out with a new online presence or just need to refresh what’s already there, you’ll have a good foundation in which to build in your keywords and other SEO endeavors.
Make Content Prospect and Value Driven
There is a lot of noise on the internet – all those sites vying for attention. Content sets you apart from the others in your space. Your website content can not only help you rise in search engine rankings but also provide your prospects without stating your competitive advantage and offering genuine value, people are going to click away.
The trick here is to provide enough information that would answer any questions a reader may have, use your unique voice and personality to be relatable, and pack in the added value.
SEO TIPS: Content writing for SEO
Write down the most common and important questions someone would have about what you offer, procedures, and company. Some great questions to add are:
Why should someone trust you?
Why is your business remarkable?
What sets you apart from the competition (your competitive advantage)?
How do you show up in the community?
And then questions about the prospect experience:
- For private landlords, write down what a prospect would ask you about the application criteria and process, approval criteria, lease terms available, available rent payment options, tenant portals, amenities, services, and neighborhood.
- For property management companies, think about the typical questions an owner would ask about having you manage their rental property portfolio such as online portals, how you handle maintenance requests, owner payments, etc.
From there, record yourself answering these questions as if you were speaking to that ideal prospect. Then, take the recording and transcribe it and edit it to use as content to showcase your company, services, and community. When you edit, use your keyword research and other SEO strategies (see below).
SEO TIPS: Adding more content
Google places a premium on fresh content and will help make Google happy. Adding content also gives you opportunities to target keywords that help drive traffic to you. Two ways to add more content are:
- Create a blog on your website! A blog allows you to present articles and information that add value and positions you as an expert in your field.
- Add testimonials to your landing pages and update those often.
In all your writing, from newsletters to blog articles to landing page content, remember that every website posts facts — but people are more drawn to an emotional connection. Your goal should be to make readers trust you, make sure you are approachable, and provide them valuable information and resources.
People don’t buy goods and services, they buy relations, stories and magic. Seth Godin
Keywords in Context
On the flip side of connecting with your content, you need to connect with how your prospects are searching for you online. That requires a little keyword research.
TOOLS: Keyword research resources
Finding the best short and long-tail keywords don’t have to cost you time or money. There are many free and easy tools directly from the largest search engine to use online such as:
- Google Search Console: This site offers search console training videos and gives you many tools to analyze your current content for keywords and how they rank as well as offers suggestions for improvement.
- Google Keyword Planner: This tool helps you research and select just the right keywords. It was designed to help users choose the keywords in their Google ad campaigns but turns out it’s a handy tool to stay on top of trends and refine your content.
- Google Trends: This tool lets you enter a search term or topic and get data on the interest by region and subregion, related queries for suggested keywords, and a comparison tool between two or three similar terms which you can sort by location, category, etc.
Additionally, these three SEO expert sites off free research tools:
SEMRUSH offers a free account that allows up to 10 free analytic reports a day, let’s you creat and manage one project and track 10 keywords in position tracking.
MOZ offers a few free tools but one is their Link Explorer that allows 10 queries a month.
ahrefs offers this free keyword generator that will help you find thousands of keyword ideas in seconds.
Again, Neil Patel is an expert in SEO and marketing and offers Ubersuggest, an excellent keyword and SEO research suite. Registering for a free account offers you even more keyword suggestions, rank tracking, and personalized suggestions.
SEO TIP: When searching and using keywords, get specific
The more generic terms you use in your content, the more your website will be lost in the noise of all the others fighting for that space. How many people click 10 pages into a search result? Instead, in your niche. use research and use terms that are local and specific to you. As you start to rank for those long tail and niche keywords, your domain authority will rise and you could gain an increase in ranking for those more general terms.
What is the difference between technical SEO and local SEO?
The difference is huge. Technical SEO focuses on optimizing the structure and content of your website, pages, articles, and graphics so that search engines are more likely to rank your site based on user experience.
Local SEO focuses on using strategies so that your site is brought up relevant to a location; either where the prospect is showing interest or where they are physically located.
SEO TIPS: Technical SEO
Little things you can do to optimize your website can make a huge difference in regards to user experience — which translates to search engines seeing you as a valuable resource and keeps your visitors on the site longer — both of which may help you rise in the search results.
- In your blog or online newsletter, be sure to use outbound links but only to other sites and pages that point to other experts, support any information you provide or adds value to your readers.
- As you grow your content, don’t be afraid to link back to your own content as that helps search engines understand the context of your site. These are called internal links. You can also link to your social media accounts and any other resources you offer.
- Be sure to fix any broken links as soon as you find them. It’s good to do a review of links at least quarterly if not more often.
- When using graphics and pictures, be sure to compress them down for better site load time. Because search engines place a premium on user experience, having potential readers experience long loading times isn’t optimal. Check out these 15 free image optimization tools for image compression.
- Make sure to write compelling meta descriptions for each page. Write it not only for SEO but think about your ideal reader on what would help them decide to click.
- Each page should have a theme or focus keyword (or long-tail keyword). Use an active voice. Start with a good opening paragraph – what they will learn and why important – be concise.
Target Marketing – Local SEO
Local SEO is a type of target marketing so that you capture the lead that is currently in or interested in the area of your properties or property management business. If you’ve ever searched “restaurants near me” or “best hotel in Houston” in Google, you’ve experienced local SEO.
SEO TIPS: Local SEO takes a NAP
NAP stands for Name, Address, and Phone Number. Make sure your address and contact information are clearly listed on your website and listings to have any chance of showing up on local search results.
In addition, list your property management company or rental business with search engine directories such as Google My Business to drive local traffic to your site. Don’t forget other search engine directories and maps as well.
The better you understand target marketing and local SEO, the more traffic and leads could potentially be generated through local search.
SEO Hats and Ranking
It’s hard to pin down Google on their algorithm for ranking a website but they have given some indication of what are and are not acceptable practices.
Black Hat SEO
Google can penalize (drop your rank or hide your site) for many reasons as this article from Neil Petal, an SEO and marketing expert highlights in his article 50 Reasons Your Website Deserves to be Penalized by Google
For example, your site could be penalized if you hide keywords on your website with invisible text or overstuff your content with keywords to just manipulate the system. The article goes on to explain how to recognize a penalty and why (aka how to avoid a penalty).
White Hat SEO
If you are using best practices to conform to search engine guidelines and not attempting to deceive your readers or manipulate ranking then you are using white hat SEO techniques.
Before going on, grey hat SEO is a newer term and simply means deploying both black hat SEO and white hat SEO tactics to attempt to gain an advantage in search engines. Keeping clear of any black hat SEO activities will keep you far from crossing over into the gray.
Common SEO mistakes
In addition to using black hat SEO tactics, avoid these other mistakes for the best success at search engine optimization:
- Not understanding your ideal prospect.
- Forgetting to customize meta descriptions, or worse, not making it relevant to your prospect.
- Leaving ALT tags empty or not specific.
- Not having your name, address, and phone number listed on your website in multiple places.
- Posting photos that are too large. Large files slow down your website loading speed.
- Not posting reviews and testimonials on your website.
- Thinking that you don’t need website content.
- Believing that SEO isn’t important.